A PRIVATE hospital which offers minor day-case procedures is set to close later this month.

Bosses at the BMI Gisburne Park Hospital in Gisburn have announced that they will shut on March 31 with services moving to its sister site at Beardwood in Blackburn.

The hospitals are used by NHS-funded patients and patients paying for their own treatment.

A spokesman for BMI Healthcare said: “Following a careful review of the hospital’s activity and changing local needs, we believe that the most appropriate option for staff and patients is to cease services at the hospital.

“The services are moving to the BMI Beardwood Hospital in Blackburn, where patients have fast access to appointments and we have a major investment programme.

“All of these services continue at BMI Beardwood Hospital, with appointments available within days, both in person and on video.”

The hospital, which can accommodate around 60 patients, employs 35 staff (28 full-time equivalents) at Gisburne Park.

It is believed the vast majority will transfer to the Beardwood, and a significant number already work across Gisburne Park and Beardwood.

Bosses say they do not know what will be done with the site.

Mark Hindle, who represents the Whalley and Painterwood ward on Ribble Valley Council and was also former chief executive of the nearby Calderstones Hospital, was shocked by the news.

He said: “I must admit I am surprised by the decision as I still work with the NHS.

“Lancashire is under significant pressure to reduce the waiting times for people to be getting their appointments.

“I would have thought the private sector could need all the help it can get to deliver waiting time targets to get people back in the system to have operations and this closure seems a strange time to do it.

“The NHS will be desperate to get people sorted.”

Cllr Hindle added: “I am always concerned about people in Ribble Valley having easy access to outpatient and operation services and I am worried about a lot of patients travelling to Beardwood in Blackburn.”

Cllr Ged Murfin, who is the county council candidate for Gisburn, added: “Rapid access to appointments does not compensate for local accessibility for patients.

“It will take a considerable time for people to travel to Blackburn and that does not think about the elderly patients and the particular attention they need.”

On the website it said: “Patients with appointments will be contacted with details of arrangements for alternative appointments, or they can leave a message on our patient contact line 0800 096 2254.

“We thank our patients who have chosen Gisburne Park Hospital, and hope that our sister hospitals, The Beardwood Hospital in Blackburn and The Lancaster Hospital in Lancaster will be able to serve you in the future.”